Goodbye Traktor + S4 Mk3... hello Prime 4!

Well I’ve done it. I’ve ordered a Prime 4. I’ve been dj-ing forever now, from SL-1200’s through to Rekordbox to Serato and most recently to Traktor with the S4 Mk3. And I’ve simply had it with NI, Traktor just ain’t good enough and I can easily live without the Haptic Feedback of the S4 Mk3, so here I am.

I know that more features are forthcoming, like the parallel waveforms and maybe one day elastic beat grids, so I’m hopeful that I’ve made the right decision.

I have a 1TB SSD coming tomorrow so I can prep tracks ready for when the unit itself arrives, I’m a little unsure about Engine Prime and when you add a track does it actually copy that music file to the SSD or is it just creating it’s database? And if it doesn’t copy the file is there an easy way to do so? Maybe that’s a question for the Prime forum though :slight_smile:

It’s gonna be a fun ride that’s for sure!

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Thanks for your post @Tobes and questions. Engine PRIME will copy over the music files as well as create a database on your SSD. The software will recognize and import your Traktor library, then any songs you put onto the SSD will be there!

ill be very interested in how things work out for you, as i am considering the sc5000m’s.

what did traktor do to make you leave?

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I’d recommend you to download Engine software and start tinkering with it. What I’ve experienced is:

  • if you drag files from Windows Explorer/ MacOs finder to the “Collection” in Engine, it will not copy the files (as they are already in the hard disk). It will simply add them to the library database.
  • if in Engine you drag files from one drive to another, it will “pack the files” to the target drive - it will basically copy them to the target drive and add them to the collection.

You mention 1TB SSD. Out of curiosity, can I ask you how many tracks do you have in that drive?

On the S4 Mk3 it has motorised decks, but in TT (turntable) mode in Traktor you can only set the pitch to +/- 8%, which is just dumb. If not in TT mode then up +/- 100% should you really want to, so that kind of defeats the fun of motorised decks with that limitation. The Traktor beat grid detection really isn’t great, even with four to the floor house and techno. I was slightly concerned with reading about Engine Prime and it’s beat detection but y’know, with everything I’ve put through it so far whilst doing my prep it’s been bang on, every single time, so I’m very pleased about that. I do have a lot of NI products and there are all really good, but Traktor… man alive… it’s just… not good enough, and there’s no excuse for it. So Prime 4 here I come! There were many more little irritating things but I don’t wanna bore you silly :slight_smile:

The guys from And The Groove Remains have some pretty good Traktor to … conversion options. If you are on a Mac, it is worth checking it out.

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garrapeta - Thanks for the EP tip, I’ve already started having a play with it and it’s copying the music data files across to the SSD so that’s all cool. I bought a 1TB SSD for the Prime 4 as why not‽ My iTunes library is pretty huge, been building it for YEARS and even though I won’t be copying even half of the library onto the SSD via EP, in answer to your question, my iTunes library is 1.59TB with 65,473 tracks. A lot of those are geeky 24 bit files though which won’t ever be going through EP :wink:

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I’m in a similar situation than yours. My library was big and contained tracks compiled in the last 12 years, all of them carefully tagged and categorised.

I was asking because apparently, although the SC5000 have great connectivity in terms of USB ports (including 2xUSB 3.0 ports) and the Prime4 has a drive bay built in and Denon recommends 1TB SSD drives, 65,473 tracks are too many.

From the Denon webpage official FAQ:

We recommend limiting the total track count to under 10,000 songs on a media source. Larger track counts may affect load/search/sort times. We recommend that you only add songs to a drive that you need for the show/night/tour.

Note that this is for SC5000, I don’t know if it will apply for the Prime4.

My library initially had about 50k tracks and although it worked, searching tracks, navigating between crates, albums, artists etc took about 6-8 seconds per action. ie: you are searching one song, each type you type a character you need to wait for 6-8 seconds for results. Same for navigating between albums, etc.

After some research and experiments (bought a better Samsung SSD drive, bought a better SATA to USB3.0 adapter, tried a different folder hierarchy in the drive, removed audio tags that were not stricly needed, etc) I ended up trimming my library to my top 10k, as I found that with 50k tracks it was excruciating to use (although it worked).

I opened the thread " Sluggish library browsing with huge library" were I carefully documented my experiments and my findings. The forum user @ JonnyXDA has made some reverse engineering on the db files and has found a plausible explanation of the behaviour related on how the db is implemented.

I hope this will be improved or that works better in the Prime4. To me, getting rid of a laptop is not about having a loop slicer and a sync button, but about a having a searchable and navigable huge library at my fingertips. I understand not every user has the same needs - that’s just me.

As former Digital DJ Tips forums moderator, I have had the pleasure of knowing Phil Morse for many years now. He has an Amazon best-selling book out (also in audio book now, narrated by himself) that is worth getting your hands on. If nothing else, reading the chapter on collection management is, imho, hugely beneficial.

I too had fallen into the trap of the digital age of collecting as much tracks as I could find. Buying a few second hand digital DJ solutions that came with hard drives full of music as well as digitizing our mobile DJ show’s CD collection in no small way contributed to that.

But frankly, you really don’t have to have every request customers want, if you don’t have it - well … you don’t have it.

Also, you don’t have to do any prep work on your request collection (no cue points, no tags, no nothing). If it’s not in my core collection, I don’t really care as it only gets played when requested by someone by title and/or artist name. I batch process everything in Mixed in Key and Platinum Notes and I’ve (over the years) set the MP3 tags for most correctly, but that is about it.

Thirdly, if you follow Phil’s guidelines, you’ll end up with a core collection of (depending on the kind of DJ you are) 600-1.200 tracks. Even in high (FLAC) quality all that fits on your iPhone, iPod, iPad, other smartphones & tablets, usb-sticks and even the most modest of SSD.

And his final bit is to prep for a gig by creating a crate for it that holds no more than 2x the amount of music you would be needing for that gig. Now suddenly you have a very manageable and searchable crate for the gig night, with the rest of your core collection on stand-by should you feel you missed something. Finally a big ole bag of request tunes that you (typically) will have to search only a few times a night.

Just my three cents, but this way of looking at my collection has most definitely helped alleviate a lot of stress that came with owning a 40k+ tracks collection.

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I agree. I have 99 per cent of my collection on video in a “core” folder and it is 1200 tracks. No need to have tens of thousands if you know your gigs and customers.

I didn’t know Phil had a book, I’ll check it out thanks. I’m not going to copy anywhere near all of my library across although I appreciate it could have read that it was my intention! I don’t have the time for one thing and as you wrote, you only really need a core library plus newer tracks that you can add. I thought I’d get a 1TB SSD as the Prime 4 can take it, and once it’s installed I won’t need to worry about it then, I can just copy new tracks to it easily enough.

Thanks for your advice mate, very much appreciated.

@Tobes You are welcome!

Tobes you just said traktor beat griding is off most of the time, sorry pal now i cant take you seriously. Traktor has its faults but it the best at beat gridding/sync by a mile.

come on man

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Assuming you are playing anything drummed by a machine with a steady and clear beat throughout the track. It really does [word that gets you banned here] at beatgridding anything that requires a tad more flexibility, imho.

Traktor has been known for many great things, but I don’t seem to recall that it’s beatgridding capabilities were amongst them.

Just my three cents though, I might be completely off the reservation :smiley:

i would say traktor is 98% hit rate with tracks after produced after 1988, i guess if your mixing classic disco or funk then it would struggle.

i’d rather play fatter re edits these days keeping the original vibe but with a much meatier sound. These new takes on old music have always been produced with a steady tempo unlike there original counter parts.

the other beauty of traktor is the position of the first down beat, as i said, once you drop a beat marker your track is ready. there is no messing about with correcting tempos, expanding beat grids or moving initial grid markers like rekordbox and prime.

in a nut shell i dont need to prepare tracks at home as i am 100% confident that i can do it on the fly just prior to playing the track for the first time ever out live sometimes having never even heard the track. it thats good and reliable. no need for hours spent at home preping and thats the difference.

dont get me wrong i am willing denon to pull this off as i want to move to the sc5000m hardware.

Fair enough fella, but in my experience Traktor 3 has sucked. Whereas I’ve been pleasantly surprised by EP so far. Time will tell.

Good that there is enough to choose from :smiley:

Whilst I dont use traktor i did a comparison a while back when i noticed EPs struggle with BPM analysis.

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that absolutley confirms my 10 years use with traktor, its the undisputed bpm sync grid king, let me use traktors analysed files in the sc5000m and ill become an istant denon customer its as clear cut as that.

props to mufasa thats some research you did there off your own back!

wish i saw that instead of wasting 2 years of my life on rekordbox, thats an absolute turnip aswell.

In terms of “overall percentage successful bpm” perhaps, but in the past I needed to change nearly all tracks with Traktor to put them on beatgrid with the internal metronome.

With so many software years behind Traktor, RB, Serato, VDJ development, it takes time to make EP on that same level.